Between Semesters

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been an interesting week.

Last Friday, one of our favorite Chicago friends came into town and we went to the My Brother, My Brother, and Me live show in Minneapolis. The show was hilarious, and it was so delightful to have her here for a couple of days, even though I was still quite under the weather and we had to keep things pretty low-key. Nova absolutely fell in love with her, and was very disappointed when she left.

Unfortunately, pretty much right after our friend left, my husband came down hard with the cold I was recovering from. It’s been a rough week from that perspective, but thankfully we’re both on the mend now.

In continued adventures with my PAP machine, things were going pretty well while I was sick, actually, because I was propping myself up at night and not moving around much. Unfortunately, the last few nights have been harder – the mask keeps leaking air up over the bridge of my nose and waking me up with the whooshing noise. I am going to call today to see if I can get a different mask configuration to try. Overall I’m still really hopeful that this will bring some major changes to my quality of sleep, and I’m grateful it’s gone as smoothly as it has so far.

We also bought a new mattress that we got to sleep on for the first time last night! It’s a Big Fig, and it’s a MAJOR upgrade from the cheap foam IKEA mattress we’ve been sleeping on for the last 12 years. We woke up with some aches in different places because we’re not used to so much support, but it’s really comfy and I’m very excited about it. Nova is enjoying the fact that the old mattress is hanging out on our living room floor for now.

I’m in between semesters for the next couple of weeks, and it feels good to be through the first semester of seminary, but also weird to not be in classes/doing homework. I keep feeling like I’m forgetting something. Over the summer I’m taking one asynchronous class at United (History of Modern Theologies), and one intensive class for the month of June at St. Kate’s that’s specific to my concentration (Sacred Activism). I’m really excited about the St. Kate’s class, even though I recognize June is going to be…a lot. All my books are ordered and at least half of them have arrived, so I’m feeling good about that.

In two weeks I’m going to New York for work for a big company get-together. I’m extremely nervous about traveling now that mask mandates are lifting, but it is what it is. I’m excited to get to meet colleagues in person for the first time – the global team is coming in, so I’ll get to meet coworkers from London and Singapore in addition to my NYC and Chicago colleagues. I’m already kind of exhausted by the thought of socializing that much, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Nova went to the groomer on Saturday and they got so much fur off of her that I actually had to resize her collar. She’s looking very sleek and we have slightly fewer tumbleweeds floating around our apartment. I will leave you with a few pictures of her, as always.

Penultimate Week

Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to another Thursday. This week I spent much of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday and much of Wednesday thinking it was Tuesday, but I think I’ve finally gotten my days straightened out in my brain.

This week is the penultimate week of classes for my first semester of seminary, which is absolutely wild. We have next week off (for holy week), and then the week after I wrap up my first two classes. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling very overwhelmed, but I’m glad I made the decision to do this thing. I’m learning a lot and meeting really wonderful people and I’m excited to see what the next semester has in store for me.

Beyond that, I don’t have too much to report. I’m still waiting to hear back about getting a CPAP machine. Next week since I have school off I’m also taking the week off from work, and I’m excited for a reset. I’m also hoping to maybe start recording a couple of songs; we’ll see how that goes.

I’ll leave you with your weekly dose of Nova:

Vacation Imminent

Hello, dear readers! We have made it to another Thursday. I kept thinking yesterday was Thursday, even though nothing about the day indicated that it was anything other than Wednesday, and today I woke up thinking it was Friday, so we’re not off to the best possible start. Still, it’s almost Friday, and that has to count for something.

Last weekend I wrote my first real paper for seminary. It was just a few pages long, but it was more academic than any writing I’ve done in over a decade, and the citation style was different than what I used in my undergrad life. It didn’t actually take me that long once I sat down to do the writing, but gathering the materials and trying to make everything coherent was a struggle.

But now, it’s almost a vacation week for me! Next week is symposium week at school, meaning no classes and no homework due. I decided to also take the week off from work (because my brain really needs a break). One of our best friends from Chicago is coming up to hang out for a few days, and it’s going to be great. I am very excited to have almost zero calendar commitments for a whole week.

I am pretty fried and don’t have a whole lot else to talk about this week, so I’ll leave you with these photos of Nova:

It’s a Blog!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday. I am struggling a bit this week – I have a lot of things going on between work and school (not to mention the rest of my life), and I’m having a hard time holding it all and prioritizing which balls I need to keep in the air and what I can allow to drop for a bit. I will be fine – I have therapy this afternoon and I know that none of my problems are all that big – but I am tired and my jaw is tight and I’m just a little overwhelmed.

I wasn’t sure what to write about this week beyond the overwhelm, but I thought after showing off how my new electric mandola looks last week, maybe I should share how it sounds, too. Last Friday I took the day off with the intention of spending the morning taking some assessments for school and the afternoon doing music as a chance to kind of reset my brain. The assessments ended up not taking very long, so I was able to record one song I’d already had pretty much figured out and then write and record a whole second song that afternoon. Here’s that second song:

Awake with You by Alyxander James

This was an experiment in GarageBand – it’s not perfect and listening to it again there are definitely things I’d change. But I’m pleased with it overall for not really having a clue what I’m doing.

Here are the lyrics, for the curious:

Today was another hard day
I know you’ve had a lot of those lately
Everything feels like a mess
Been a while since you knew it’d turn out okay
Now you lie in bed
With the day on replay in your mind
Wondering whether the tension will ever unwind

But I will stay awake with you
I will stay awake with you

I am not going to say
That life will look better tomorrow
And I am not going to tell you
That every day you’ll be subject to sorrow
No one can say
What’s waiting for us down the line
But whatever it is, I’ll be right by your side

I will stay awake with you
I will stay awake with you

oo

I will stay awake with you
I will stay awake with you

I’ll leave you with this photo of a Very Good Doggo looking intently at something unseen by the humans in our apartment.

Searching for Focus

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I am all sorts of confused about what day it is – I ended up taking Monday off because I was fighting a headache most of Sunday night into Monday morning, and that always throws the rest of my week for a loop.

It’s been a decent week, but I have been struggling to focus. I got my homework for the week done early. I should have started working on a paper that’s coming due in a couple of weeks, but I didn’t. I need to make sure I have enough sources for the paper I want to write, and even that has been an uphill battle in terms of focus and prioritization. I’m enjoying my classes, but I’m still trying to figure out how to keep my life relatively balanced between work and school and play (and no, I will not be giving up play while I am working and in school – that way lies madness).

I’ve been increasingly excited about music, thanks to FAWM – I haven’t finished any more songs than the one I wrote on the 1st, but I’ve got some snippets of things down that I’m trying to find time to work on. And a couple of days ago I got a new electric mandola, which I’m super excited about and having tons of fun with in whatever down time I find.

Eastwood Airline Electric Mandola

I’m aware that bringing a new instrument home in the middle of when I should be working on homework was a questionable decision, but I don’t have any regrets at the moment.

I’m taking tomorrow off to catch up on homework and hopefully get some music time in, too. So I’m looking forward to that.

I think that’s about all I have to say this week. As always, I’ll leave you with a picture of Nova:

The inside-out ear just slays me

So Tired

Hello, dear readers – we’ve made it to another Thursday. I am particularly grateful for calendars and to do lists today, because I definitely forgot about blogging until my phone reminded me this morning.

I am…weary. Classes are going pretty well, things are good at work, everyone in my household is staying relatively healthy and well, but I am just exhausted. I’ve been a bit sniffly the past few days, so maybe I’m fighting off a cold, or maybe it’s my body’s reaction to the fact that I woke up yesterday to an actual temp of -15 outside and a windchill of -35 and I just want to hibernate. (It has warmed up significantly since last night, but it’s supposed to start getting cold again over the weekend, and the variation in temperature mostly just makes my joints ache.)

My Tuesday class, which I usually go to in person, was moved to Zoom this week because our professor had a covid exposure a couple of days before. Thankfully she seems to be okay, but for safety we all Zoomed in from our respective spaces. My husband also had a music class Tuesday night, so we were both occupied with our computers for a while and Nova was not happy about it, which was a little distracting. But we made it work, and hopefully we’ll be back to in-person class next week.

I am feeling a little behind for tonight’s class – I finished the readings and the written assignment in plenty of time, but the professor for this class records the lecture portion of the class on Tuesday afternoons to make the Thursday night class an hour shorter, and I haven’t had a chance to watch the lecture yet. I’ll have to figure out free moments in my work day to get it done, I think, which is not ideal.

Really, though, it’s not been a bad week. I’m just so tired…

Anyway, I leave you, as always, with some Nova photos from this week:

New Routines and Tiny Gratitudes

Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to another Thursday. My week has been decent, but underlined by a background anxiety that I’m not going to be able to figure out how to get all my homework done in time. New routines are hard – all change, even if it’s positive, is hard to some degree – and I’m worried I’m not up for the task. I’ve already had to turn down some social plans in favor of getting homework done, which doesn’t feel great. But the work is all really interesting so far, and I really appreciate my classmates and professors.

I realized in therapy last Thursday afternoon that I was particularly anxious for my Thursday night class – Religious and Theological Interpretation. After talking through some things with my therapist, I realized it was largely because the last time I had engaged academically with stuff like this, I was in undergrad at a small, conservative bible college, where I was coming to grips with the fact of my queerness and watching interpretations of religious texts be weaponized against people like me. So it makes sense that I was anxious! Thankfully, I was able to name that, not only in therapy but also in class, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I’m really grateful to have landed where I did.

I’m going to wrap up this post with a brief little list of things I’m particularly grateful for right now:

  • Supportive communities. My husband and I have incredible support networks (some of which we share, and some that we don’t), and I’m so grateful to know that there are multiple communities of folks looking out for us, both when life is particularly chaotic and when things are really wonderful.
  • New (to me) ideas. My classes are introducing me to concepts I’d never considered before, and I am enjoying the challenge.
  • FAWM. While February has not started yet, the FAWM website is up and running and people are starting to gather. I have no idea if I’ll write any music this February, but I’m excited to listen to what other folks come up with.

And, as always, here’s your weekly dose of Nova:

School Days, School Days

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I’m a little discombobulated around what day it is – I woke up feeling rather under the weather yesterday and ended up taking the day off, which was needed and lovely but also threw me for a bit of a loop in terms of my internal calendar. Thank goodness for my calendar and to do list keeping me on track!

It’s been a big week – I’m officially a seminary student! I had my first class on Tuesday, and it was great. It’s a small group (there are 10 students and only four of us are in person, with the rest of the class Zooming in), which I think will be particularly great for this particular class, which is “Introduction to Personal and Spiritual Formation” – basically looking at who the person is that you’re bringing into this seminary journey. My other class (“Religious and Theological Interpretation”) starts this evening. The professor normally commutes up from Chicago to teach on Thursdays, but due to Omicron, he’ll be zooming into class, and invited the students to do so as well. While I tend to learn better in person, this is a larger class, and I think for the time being I’m more comfortable with attending virtually.

I’m already a little overwhelmed by homework and figuring out my new routines, but I’m trying to remember to be gentle with myself as I learn how to navigate these new responsibilities. The class material is already very engaging and I’m excited to continue to dive into it.

I don’t have a lot of other news this week. I leave you with this photo of Nova, with some very sweet context – she fell asleep like this, leaning on my arm as I held her paw, for a solid 30 minutes last weekend. (What the photo didn’t capture were the tiniest little snores.) She is truly the sweetest doggo.

Sweet, snoozy Nova

School Day Jitters

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It is COLD in the Twin Cities this morning. The high today is going to barely creep above zero (we’re currently sitting around -4 F); currently we’re seeing windchills in the -20 F range. I am grateful we don’t need to go out much, and glad my husband was able to take Nova out for a nice long adventure/walk yesterday so she’ll hopefully feel less cheated that she can’t play outside much today.

The time has finally come – this afternoon is orientation for seminary (over Zoom), and Tuesday I have my first class. I’ve taken this afternoon and tomorrow off from work to attend the orientation and finish getting my ducks in a row before the semester really kicks off; I have some reading I need to get done before my classes next week. I’m nervous and excited in mostly equal measure. A lot of the nerves are around going to class in person – I really feel it’s the right choice for me right now (I know from past experience that I struggle more with online learning), but with Omicron it’s definitely nerve-wracking. I just got a bunch of N95 masks to wear to classes and I’m somewhat comforted knowing that students need to be masked and vaxxed to be on campus and that the number of people in-person for my classes is relatively small in rooms that are quite spacious. But it’s still a thing I’m anxious about, for sure. (At least, as my husband pointed out to me the other day, this is an anxiety grounded in reality?)

Other things that happened this week…a fire alarm went off in our building and we ended up wandering around outside for about two hours (everything’s fine, we think it was probably a small kitchen fire or something), but the up side of that was we ended up wandering over to the library and finally getting our library cards. Nova’s been really happy that there’s more snow on the ground again. I’m working on putting some routines in place in my day to help make transitioning back to being a student a little easier.

And on that note, I think I’ll leave you, as always, with a few Nova photos:

Stay safe, friends.